Potential hospital cost-savings attributed to improvements in outcomes for colorectal cancer surgery following self-audit

In 2010 BMC Surgery published a research article by Gordon and Obermair on the potential hospital cost-savings attributed to improved outcomes for patients undergoing colorectal cancer surgery following self-audit.

In summary the paper found that one of the potential benefits of surgical audit is improved hospital cost-efficiencies arising from lower resource consumption associated with fewer adverse events. The aim of this study was to estimate the potential cost-savings for Australian hospitals from improved surgical performance using a surgical self-audit program.

Researchers developed a mathematical decision-model to investigate cost differences in usual practice versus surgical audit and synthesized published hospital cost data with epidemiological evidence of adverse surgical events in Australia and New Zealand. A systematic literature review was undertaken to assess post-operative outcomes form colorectal surgery and effectives of surgical auditing. Results were subjected to both one – way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses to address uncertainty in model parameters.

The results found that, if surgical self-audit facilitated the reduction of adverse surgical events by half those currently reported for colorectal cancer surgery, the potential cost-savings to hospitals is AU$48,720 (95% CI: $18,080 – $89,260) for each surgeon treating 20 cases per year. A smaller 25% reduction in adverse events produced cost-savings of AU$24, 960 per surgeon (95% CI: $1,980-$62,980). Potential hospital savings for all operative colorectal cancer cases was estimated at AU$30.3 million each year.

The report concluded that surgical self-audit has the potential to create substantial hospital cost-savings for colorectal cancer surgery in Australia when considering the widespread incidence of this disease. This continues to highlight the great necessity of self-audits for obstetricians and gynaecologists for not only individual benefits but as cost saving methods for Australian hospitals.

To read the full report, click here.